Fells Point is offering an opportunity to sip a few brews for a good cause.
Saturday, the Liquid Summer Festival brings music, food, games and a variety of drinks to Harbor Point to raise money for the United Way.
From noon until 9 p.m., guests can play beer pong, jump around on the adult moon bounce, play games and check out live music. The winner of the second annual Baltimore's Best Bartender Contest will also be announced.
"It should be a crazy day," said event producer Greg Nevins, but he stressed that it's for a good cause. "It's not just a party, it's a nice event and it has a purpose."
Nevins estimated this year's event to have about three times the liquor manufacturers on board as last year. He is also excited about the other big - or not so big - addition to this year's festivities: Mini Kiss.
The quartet of little people, the littlest Kiss tribute band in the world, as their Web site says, will play 5 p.m.-6 p.m. Reggae-rockers Can't Hang will play from noon until 2 p.m. Jah Works, with a more dancehall-oriented reggae sound, will play 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The Kelly Bell Band will close out the sets with its "phat blues music," playing 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Twenty bartenders are competing for the title of Baltimore's Best Bartender. The five nominees with the most votes from an online poll will be judged by crowd applause at 4 p.m. at the festival. The winner will receive $1,000. Another $500 will be given to the bartender who sells the most half-off tickets to the festival, which they have been selling at their bars.
Christina Ruiz, a bartender at MaGerk's, said she's going to take her boyfriend on a trip, probably to Las Vegas, if she wins the contest. One of her favorite things about bartending is the variety of people she gets to interact with.
"You see so many people throughout the day," Ruiz said. "And talking with each individual customer and meeting new people is always fun." Before she came to MaGerk's, she worked at Coyote Ugly in Washington. When asked what the craziest thing she's seen while bartending is, she couldn't think of one particular thing, since "the purpose of the job [at Coyote Ugly] was to be crazy."
"So many things happened that were just part of my job," she said.
Kelly Bell is particularly excited about the festival. The vocalist said he loves the challenge of an outdoor crowd that includes "party people" as well as families and kids.
"It's easy to get into a bar and get the crowd to scream," he said. "But it's hard to keep the party going and be goofy enough to keep the kids entertained."
Bell is also delighted to be sharing the stage with longtime friends Jah Works. "In my opinion, the All Mighty Senators and Jah Works are the two greatest bands to come out of Baltimore," he said.
The Kelly Bell Band is working on two albums, both of which it hopes to release in the next eight to 10 months. One is a collection of blues covers, including Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover," and the other is all original songs, many of which the band has started playing in concert.
The Liquid Summer Festival is from noon until 9 p.m. Saturday. Parking is on the right at the southern end of South Caroline Street. Tickets are $9. Call 410-769-8223, ext. 109 or visit liquidsummerfest.com, where you can vote for Baltimore's Best Bartender.